People with SCI are provided with appropriate temporary equipment to support their discharge from the Spinal Injury Unit. Items such as a hoist and sling, shower commode and wheelchair can be provided if needed. Such equipment is generally loaned by WA Health or hired with funding from other sources (such as ICWA and Workers Compensation) depending on eligibility for a short period.
If the individual has a compensation claim then usually a private Occupational Therapist (OT) will be employed on their behalf to assist with equipment supply and home modifications. Ongoing equipment needs or repairs to health department supplied equipment can be discussed with an OT from the Spinal services, who can identify the appropriate service to organise the repairs. These contact numbers are provided to inpatients at the time of discharge.
If an individual has an NDIS plan then a community service provider will replace the temporary loan equipment with suitable equipment to support their community-based needs. The individual is responsible for ongoing care and maintenance of this equipment using funding provided as part of their NDIS plan.
Previous recipients of the Community Aids and Equipment Programme (CAEP) who are over 65 years and not accessing My Aged Care will continue to have access to CAEP services through the continuity of care programme. Details about the CAEP service, patient entitlements and referral processes are currently outlined through the following link: www.disability.wa.gov.au/services-support-and-eligiblity/servicessupports-and-eligibility-new/services/services-provided-by-thecommission/equipment-and-technology/community-aids-and-equipment-programcaep-/There are potential changes to service provision and to eligibility for these services from June 2020 – please check the CAEP website for updates.
There is also a ‘Continuity of Support’(CoS) Programme which will provide continuity of support to older people with disabilities who are receiving state-managed specialist disability services at the time of implementation of the CoS Programme but are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This may also be provided to individuals from New Zealand who had previous CAEP eligibility.
Routine maintenance of items such as commode, hoist, and sling is encouraged. Details about the equipment and maintenance requirements are available for temporary loan equipment through FSH Patient Equipment Centre (if discharged from FSH) or OT organising the equipment. Details can also be sourced directly from the supplier or manufacturer of the item. Individuals are expected to identify the need for the regular maintenance or repair of equipment.
Wheelchairs and pressure relief equipment
The Rehabilitation Engineering Clinic (REC) supplies loan manual and power wheelchairs and postural support surfaces such as cushions and mattresses to people with SCI, depending on their eligibility. This might include a loan wheelchair that is provided to inpatients of EMHS and SMHS hospitals on discharge. Should there be maintenance issues with these wheelchairs contact can be made with REC services on 9224 1681. REC will provide one wheelchair on discharge, either a power or manual wheelchair.
Regular maintenance of any wheelchair is important to keep an individual with SCI reliably mobile. Information and guidelines on how to properly inspect and maintain a wheelchair are available through this link wheelchair maintenance and minor repairs.
Please note that REC may not be able to repair the wheelchairs if it is outside of the agreed loan term without establishing the funding source (NDIS, MAC, ICWA, etc.) NDIS participants can access urgent assistive technology repairs: https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/4142-urgent-assistive-technology-repairs
Mobile wheelchair services are available and can be contacted for an at-home service. One example of a mobile maintenance service is through the RAC who offers a breakdown service for members who may need emergency repairs on their manual or power wheelchair. See the following link regarding this service https://rac.com.au/car-motoring/roadside-assistance/wheels2go.
Other services do exist and individuals would be advised to investigate these with their supporting health professionals in their own area.
Future equipment needs
Some people with SCI find items like an additional wheelchair, electric bed and communication devices useful. These items are not funded through WA Health, however, there is a range of grants available to assist with funding towards these items. Some of these are outlined at www.ilc.com.au, and all have eligibility requirements. A health professional will need to verify the clinical need for the equipment when applying for these grants.
Alternatively, patients may be eligible for items required as a result of their disability through NDIS. This can be negotiated with NDIS service provider or planner.
Rehabilitation Engineering is also able to provide services to people in the community including eligible patients referred for complex technology solutions. These services include:
- Wheelchair mobility
- Customised Postural seating and pressure management
- Integrated control systems
- Technology adaptations for functional independence
The Support, Equipment and Funding section of the website https://www.spire.org.au includes relevant information and ideas about other suitable equipment. The NSW funding sources referred to on this site are not relevant to people in WA.
Unicare Health, Bentley (previously known as River Abilities) can send a technician to your home to perform repairs. Visit their website https://www.unicarehealth.com.au/support/repairs/ or call 1800 656 654 for more information. They will also provide hire equipment free of charge while repairs are being carried out if necessary. Unicare Health have components for most rehab equipment products, including shower trolleys, commodes, electric beds, wheelchairs, walkers, patient hoists, powered wheelchairs & scooters, pressure care mattresses and lift-recline chairs
Australian Mobility Equipment, Malaga (http://amemobility.com.au, (08) 9249 7483) also offers a mobile repair service and can arrange for equipment to be collected and delivered to their workshop if necessary.
Tim Miller, Kalgoorlie. Tim operates a mobile repair service for manual and electric wheelchairs. Tel 0408 978 354, email: email@example.com
Calibre Care, Albany (previously known as River Abilities) have a wheelchair repair service. Tel: (08) 9841 4200.
Mandurah Mobility, Mandurah have a pick up and delivery service for wheelchair repairs, a service representative can also come to you if necessary. Tel: (08) 9535 1211, http://www.mandurahmobility.com.au.
Guy’s Mobile Wheelchair Service, Yangebup. Tel: 0410 480 481, email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Rod Wyatt, Diverse Mobility, Bassendean. Tel: 0439 970 872, email: email@example.com
Wild West Wheelchairs is a small, but professional operator in the WA market. The owner Peter has worked with AT equipment, primarily mobility equipment, since 2001. They can offer a repair and maintenance service, including a 24/7 emergency repairs (circumstances permitting), within Metro Perth. Wild West is of course NDIS registered (service provider number: 4050013863). Apart from doing repairs; Wild West Wheelchairs also offers a range of AT products. The majority of the products in the range are prescription products. In particular the manual range of wheelchairs is being build to the specifications of the client. Custom, “off the script”, options are also possible. Wild West also carries a wide range of power assist systems for manual wheelchairs, seating components, power wheelchairs, etc. The product range is ever expanding. www.facebook.com/wildwestwheelchairs
The listing of these products, programs and services is intended for information only, and individuals must use their own caution and judgement when utilising these resources.
There are several organisations which can modify equipment for your specific requirements. Costs and funding for modifications should be discussed with the service provider before they start on your project.
RAM Wheelchairs build custom-made manual wheelchairs and can also modify existing wheelchairs to your specific requirements. Please contact Matt (Tel: (08) 9331 2000, http://www.ramwheelchairs.com.au ) for further information.
TADWA (Technology Assisting Disability WA)
TADWA is a not for profit organisation which provides a range of services including modifying existing equipment and the design and building of customised aids. Projects include customised bikes and trikes, seating and upholstery and beach wheelchairs. Please visit the website http://tadwa.org.au or Tel: 1 300 663 243 for more information.
Dreamfit Foundation is a not for profit organisation that focuses on providing equipment solutions that are not readily available, such as sourcing specialised equipment from overseas or custom designing and building equipment from the ground up. Projects include motorised art easels, customised photography equipment, clip on handcycle and wheelchair segway. For more information visit the website http://www.dreamfit.com.au or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please click here to see a video presentation by Darren Loman (CEO of Dreamfit) discussing some of the projects they have been involved with.
- Independent Living Centre WA, http://ilc.com.au/services/ilc-hire/, tel: 1 300 885 886. ILC Hire is an equipment hire service that specialises in short-term hire of equipment for people with disabilities throughout the State. It aims to provide an opportunity to trial equipment before purchase to ensure that it is suitable, to assist people whose rapidly changing needs make equipment purchase impractical, and to meet short term needs such as post surgery or whilst equipment is being repaired or delivered.
- Daily Living Products – https://www.daily.com.au/hire-info, tel: 1 300 364 460. Equipment hire includes bedroom equipment, toilet and shower equipment, hoists, and electric wheelchairs/scooters. Equipment is available in Metropolitan areas only, delivery can be arranged.
- HospEquip, https://www.hospequip.com.au/hire/, tel: 9456 1661. Equipment for hire includes beds, pressure relief mattresses and shower/toilet equipment. Equipment is available in Metropolitan areas, with delivery to Mandurah and Bunbury on specified days.
- Metro Mobility, http://www.metromobility.com.au/mobility-equipment-hire-perth, tel: 9258 8733. Has manual and electric wheelchairs, electric beds, and bathroom aids available for hire in Metropolitan area only.
- MediHire and Sales, http://www.medihireandsales.com/hire/. Medihire & Sales have four stores, Balcatta (tel: 9240 6100), Guildford (tel: 9379 1555), Wembley (tel: 9387 3911) and Willetton (tel: 9354 3111) where a large range of products are displayed. Free parking is available at each store, and all stores are wheelchair accessible. Delivery can be arranged to both Metropolitan and Regional areas.
- All-Set Rentals, http://www.allsetrentals.com.au/wheelchairs, tel: 9379 7337. Have manual wheelchairs for hire in Metropolitan area only.
- Rentals-R-Us, http://www.rentalsrus.com.au/wheelchairs, tel: 9379 7375. Have manual wheelchairs for hire in Metropolitan area only.
- Gosnells Scooter & Mobility World, http://www.gosnellsscooters.com.au/, tel: 9398 2043. Have manual wheelchairs and bathroom aids available for hire in the Metropolitan area only.
Wheelchair accessible vehicle hire
- Hire Mobility, http://www.hiremobility.com.au/, tel: 9309 3011. Vehicles are capable of seating up to 8 people plus one wheelchair, or 5 people plus two wheelchairs, depending on the van available. A range of wheelchair accessible, automatic, air-conditioned vehicles is available including vans and buses, which can be driven with a car license.
- Accessible Transit, http://www.accessibletransit.com.au/hire-vehicles.html tel: 9256 3411. Toyota Hiace available for hire allows for 7 passengers plus driver or 3 passengers plus driver with 2 wheelchair positions. The vehicles are fitted with a hydraulic hoist and restraint system for the wheelchair, all vehicles have automatic transmission.